This week marks my third anniversary with Kotaku, spending all of that as the site's weekend editor. On my third weekend here, my brother Fletch and I unloaded this post - "Two Brothers Meditating Upon Questions of Pac-Man," originally published April 19, 2008. A hypothetical calculation of Pac-Man's, er, metabolic functions, it became one of Kotaku's all-time humor classics. It's re-presented here, updated for the site's current design, with a gallery now featuring two alternate, unpublished images.
My brother, Fletch, and I were 8 and 6 years old, respectively, when Pac-Man debuted. As this IM conversation demonstrates, to this day we approach the game with the same wide-eyed curiosity and emotional maturity as we did in 1980.
Tuesday, April 15
10:01:53 AM Owen: hey, pac-man question: how big were the dots and the energizers, in pixels
10:02:08 AM Fletch: You mean on the original video game screen?
10:02:16 AM Owen: yeah, 2x2 for dots, and roughly 8x8 for the energizers?
10:02:20 AM Fletch: i guess. I don't have bionic graphic measurement powers
10:02:37 AM Owen: I'm trying to figure how big a shit Pac-Man would take after one board.
(you've been warned...)
10:03:15 AM Fletch: Isn't this begging the rather obvious question of the location of pac-man's anus?
10:03:30 AM Owen: ...
10:04:21 AM Fletch: I'm betting Pac anatomy would confound human xenobiologists
10:04:24 AM Owen: o_O
10:05:06 AM Owen: OK now, normal digestion, how much gets metabolized, how much is dookie, rough percentages.
10:05:25 AM Fletch: dunno, never saw pac-crap
10:06:14 AM Owen: neither have i, stupe.
10:06:18 AM Fletch: do we assume Pac's GI tract is reg'lar? Getting enuf dietery fiber?
10:06:22 AM Owen: this is for mature, healthy, nonsmoking male pac-adult
10:06:30 AM Fletch: that's the only way the word 'mature' ever gets into this conversation
10:07:00 AM Fletch: BRB
10:10:41 AM Fletch: OK, there are 266 dots on a screen
10:10:50 AM Fletch: roughly 2x2, so 4 pixels per dot
10:10:53 AM Owen: you google that?
10:11:00 AM Fletch: no- found a screeencap of the whole board at wikipedia, so I counted em
10:11:05 AM Owen: got damn you hardco
10:11:56 AM Fletch: nowait, I miscounted- thought the board was quadrilaterally symmetrical, but its only bilateral
10:12:05 AM Owen: O_o
10:12:30 AM Fletch: Ok dot count is 240- x 4 pixels is 960
10:12:38 AM Owen: alright, now the ghosts
10:12:47 AM Fletch: ghosts don't count towards crap, they ghosts.
10:13:04 AM Owen: no, he consumes their ghost costume but not their eyeballs. it's roughage.
10:13:17 AM Fletch: THEY GHOSTS
10:13:30 AM Owen: "ghost-monsters" according to teh cartoon
10:13:38 AM Fletch: Cartoon ain't canon
10:13:46 AM Owen: o_O
10:13:56 AM Owen: fine fuck the ghosts.
10:14:09 AM Fletch: damn straight. Now: energizers are 9x9- minus 12 for the corners, so that's 69.
10:14:21 AM Fletch: x 4 equals 276
10:14:29 AM Owen: wat about cherries
10:15:07 AM Owen: you get two of those per board
10:15:08 AM Fletch: they ain't on my screengrab
10:15:16 AM Owen: well dammit find another
10:16:50 AM Fletch: OK 98 pixels for cherries x 2 is 196
10:17:05 AM Owen: OK so that's 960 pixels for the dots, 276 for the energizers, 196 for the two fruit. i get 1432 pixels total consumed. now, let's say it's one of those high speed versions like we played at the pizza hut. so he's burning a ton of calories, and all of this stuff is super nutritious. and plus he reserves some that he'll convert to mass for when he goes supersize to chase blinky at the first intermission. so all but 25 pct is left in his intestines. that leaves:
10:17:25 AM Fletch: 358 pixel pac turd. let's say 360. what's the square root of 360
10:17:34 AM Owen: uh ...
10:22:50 AM Owen Good went away
10:22:55 AM Fletch: ohfercrissake
10:22:56 AM Owen Good (auto response) I am away from my computer right now.
10:22:59 AM Owen Good came back
10:23:01 AM Owen: uhhhh ... 11?
10:23:22 AM Fletch: 18.97, Mister Maf.
10:23:28 AM Owen: close enough
10:23:35 AM Fletch: so let's call it a square 19 pixels on each side
10:23:37 AM Fletch: now how big is pac. I'm betting he ain't that big
10:23:52 AM Owen: 16x16 at the max.
10:23:59 AM Fletch: 14x14. plus his butthole has to be only two or three pixels wide
10:24:09 AM Owen: owwwwwwwwwww
10:24:30 AM Fletch: so it ain't gonna come out square, it's going to be a big long squirt-dookie
10:24:35 AM Owen: ( O ) ___ ( o)
Wednesday, April 16
From: Fletch [redacted]
Date: Wed, Apr 16, 2008 at 1:32 PM
Subject: Re: conversation
To: Owen Good [redacted]
To scale, pixel for pixel. Nearly 2x Pac-Man's mass.
13:40:28 PM Owen: lol blinky's all !!! omfg
13:40:33 PM Fletch: thanx
13:40:45 PM Owen: so i was trying to figure
13:40:49 PM Owen: what would the men's room look like after one round of Tapper
13:40:52 PM Fletch: I have to go now.
Images courtesy of Fletch Brendan Good